Former congressman dies

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DENVER (AP) – Former GOP Rep. Dan Schaefer, 70, who represented Colorado in Congress for 14 years until retiring in 1998, died Sunday.

Schaefer won a special election in 1983 to fill a vacancy caused by the death of congressman-elect John Swigert, an Apollo 13 astronaut.

A moderate Republican who liked backpacking and bow hunting, Schaefer served on the House Commerce Committee and was the senior member of the state’s congressional delegation when he stepped down.

State Rep. Matt Knoedler, a Republican from Lakewood who worked for Schaefer when he got out of college, said Schaefer left a legacy that includes the cleanup of Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons site and the passage of a federal law that requires the federal government to comply with federal environmental regulations.

In 1977, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and in 1979 he was elected to the state Senate before running for Congress in the special election.

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Philip Hyde

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Philip Hyde, whose wilderness photographs helped stir public support for the Sierra Club’s efforts to protect the environment, has died. He was 84.

The longtime Northern California resident died March 30 of complications from a stroke in Reno, Nev., according to his son, David.

“Philip Hyde, following Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, is one of four or five great photographers of the Western landscape,” Allan Dyson, a UC Santa Cruz librarian, said in 2002 when Hyde donated his 50-year archive to the university.

The Sierra Club and its leader, David Brower, introduced a series of “battle books” in the 1950s to galvanize support for national parks in the West from dam construction and other development.

Hyde’s images were featured in Brower’s 1964 book “Time and the River Flowing: Grand Canyon,” as well as in Edward Abbey’s 1971 “Slickrock.” His last book, “The Range of Light” (1992), included passages from naturalist John Muir’s essays paired with Hyde’s observations and photos.



Rudolf Slansky

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) – Rudolf Slansky, a former ambassador to Russia and son of a Czechoslovak Communist leader who was put to death during the Stalinist purges, died Monday. He was 71.

Slansky died after a long illness, the CTK news agency reported.

Slansky was jailed early in his life when his father, also named Rudolf, was sentenced to death after a 1952 show trial with 13 other officials, including government ministers. The trial was deemed anti-Semitic because Slansky and most of the officials were Jewish.

The younger Slansky later joined the “Prague Spring” Communist reform movement led by Alexander Dubcek in the late 1960s and went on to sign the Charter 77 human rights manifesto inspired a decade later by Vaclav Havel.

Havel, who became president after the demise of communism in the region in 1989, appointed Slansky ambassador to Moscow.

After the peaceful 1993 breakup of the Czechoslovak federation, Slansky continued his diplomatic mission to Moscow as Czech ambassador and later as ambassador to Slovakia.



Louise Smith

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) – Louise Smith, the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999, has died. She was 89.

Smith had battled cancer and been in hospice care, one of her nieces, Dora E. Owens, told The Greenville News.

Smith, remembered as “the first lady of racing,” was on the NASCAR circuit from 1945-56. Known for her fearless style, she won 38 modified events.

She got her start in racing when young promoter Bill France was looking for a way to get people to the track. France started NASCAR on the road to its dynasty in part by sending Smith to tracks in the Northeast and Canada.

Smith was a barnstormer who ran for $100 to $150 in first prizes. She mixed with Curtis Turner, Ralph Earnhardt, Bill Snowden, Buddy Shuman and Buck Baker.

She was remembered for some spectacular crashes.

In 1947, Smith went to watch the beach races at Daytona in her husband’s new Ford coupe, but when she arrived, found out she had to race. She entered the shiny new car and wrecked it.

Benny Parsons, a longtime NASCAR star and now a TV analyst, recounted the story.

“Her husband said, ‘Where’s the car, Louise?’ And she said, ‘That ol’ trap broke down in Augusta (Ga.),”‘ Parsons said. “He showed her the newspaper. The wrecked car was on the front page.”

AP-ES-04-17-06 2140EDT

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